HIC-MENA [ Habitat International Coalition ]

Home| About Us | Contact Us


What is affected
Housing Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Privatization of public goods and services
Date 01 June 2005
Region MENA
Country Turkey
City Kadifekale, İzmir

Affected persons (number & composition)

Total 10000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Your solution
Download any important details Demirtaş&Saraçoğlu_Urban_Transformation_Kadifekale_Izmir.pdf

Download any important development

Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes 2000
- Total value
Privatization of public goods and services
Land Losses
Housing Losses

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Brief narrative

The “Bulldozer Law” under Pretext of Safety from Earthquake: Law 6306

The UN Commission on Human Rights has affirmed in 1993 “that the practice of forced eviction constitutes a gross violation of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing” and “urges governments to undertake immediate measures, at all levels, aimed at eliminating the practice of forced eviction.”[i] Subsequently, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) also specified the safeguards and remedies required in cases of eviction.[ii] However, twenty years later, Articles 5(1) and 5(2) of Turkey’s Law No. 6306 on the Transformation of Areas under Disaster Risk (2012) provides that alternative housing or workplaces “maybe allocated, or rent allowances “may” be paid to the owners, tenants or inhabitants who are evicted or removed under such (coercive) agreements. ‘’May’’ is an ambiguous word and imposes no obligation to the evictor. The criteria and conditions determining which cases are entitled to compensation or relocation support and the exact terms of such support are not specified in the law. This happens despite international norms guaranteeing the “right to a remedy and reparation “for victims of gross violations of human rights.[iii]


Thus, if residents do not reach an “agreement” with developers on the terms of the project (most of the low income residents with title deeds and also those from informal neighborhoods without title deeds cannot become partners to luxurious projects) their shares are expropriated. The Law enables the use of emergency expropriation mechanisms which can only be employed in times of war, civil strife, disaster etc.


According to Article 8(3) of Law No. 6306, any contestation against implementing the law or resistance against demolitions will be treated under the Penal Code, consequently criminalizing all those who resist demolition of their homes and defend their affected human rights. Additionally, when the government declares an area as a disaster-transformation area, it forces inhabitants to demolish their homes by their own means or pay the demolition costs, and vacate their homes within 60 days.


Law No. 6306 can be viewed as the culmination point of the ongoing process of dispossession and displacement. The law is a hegemonic one, concentrating power in the hands of TOKİ and the Ministry. The government, based on its past profitable implementations must have seen that this is a good business for the economy so it has started exploiting “disaster” phenomenon as an excuse to intervene each and every urban space by means of this legal tool, which eliminates any possible obstructions and even negates the rights secured by national and international human rights mechanisms.


Mass forced evictions, gross violations of the right to property and the right to adequate housing,[iv] spike the number of persons rendered homeless, dispossessed and living in extreme poverty, as well as the vulnerable communities expected to face the same outcomes. The above mentioned laws offer no refuge for those who seek their human right to adequate housing, including the process rights of participation, information, fair trial, consent, reparations, and freedom of association as citizens with an equal right to be heard. This is why the ECtHR had to admit claims extraterritorially in the case of Sulukule mentioned above, as meaningful consultations, negotiations or affected communities collective bargaining are domestically foreclosed.


UN Habitat’s Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (AGFE) reported from a 2009 mission to Istanbul that urban renewal projects directly affected 80,000 people, and 12,730 people already had lost their homes. AGFE found that the majority of people participating in the urban-renewal projects were being forced into agreement with the public authorities.[v]AGFE reported that many neighborhoods throughout Istanbul are currently under the threat of evictions, and estimated more than 120 sites were going through dramatic transformations, which means that the demolition of houses and evictions are a part of a raft of urban renewal plans in the big cities. These will push some of the hardest-pressed communities further into poverty, while the developers are driven by huge profits. AGFE also underscored that

TOKİ’s and Istanbul Municipality officials converging recent declaration stating that they plan to rebuild 1 million buildings in Istanbul gives the scale of the dramatic problem that around 8 to 10 million poor and middle-class residents of Istanbul living in these 1 million buildings are facing and will be facing in the near future if nothing is done to reverse the current trend and the current practices.


With the enactment of Disaster Law and its implementations, AGFE’s projection soon will be fulfilled.


Urban Renewal Projects

Informal Neighborhoods (Gecekondu Areas)

In informal neighborhoods, most inhabitants do not have official titles, although they may have been residing there for at least 20 years or more and with all amenities and infrastructure provided by local authorities. Nevertheless, when regeneration projects are announced for these areas, the communities’ rights are violated through eviction in various ways:

•    Those recognized as beneficiaries may be relocated to culturally unsuitable Mass Housing Administration (TOKİ) high-rises, kilometers from the center and their source of livelihood and, whereas they cannot afford credit payments to banks, they face foreclosure; the critical issue is that most of them cannot pay the monthly installments, thus sell to third parties with debt and move out.

•    Renter households are entitled to no resettlement rights, and face homelessness;

•    Shopkeepers and small businesses also enjoy no rights, and lose their businesses and jobs.


Consequently, the relocation, hailed by the central and local governments as moving gecekondu inhabitants from “unhealthy, ”unsafe” and “filthy” places to “modern” high-rises poses no solution, but only causes problems by creating homelessness in the long run. This form of “development” turns into a latent forced-eviction mechanism, since the relocated populations, unable to pay their installments either face foreclosures or sell their shares with debt to third parties. Retaining few or no assets, they move out, more impoverished than before, also losing their social networks and solidarity ties, which are vital mechanisms of survival for the urban poor.


Some of these neighborhoods are inhabited by Kurdish communities mostly internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled to big cities at the end of the 1980s, due to security reasons. So, these communities face a third displacement.


İzmir’s Kadifekale community of Kurds was displaced from eastern Anatolia as a result of the conflict between the armed forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The government included this area in the “Konak Renewal project” that it adopted in 2005 by declaring the land upon which their homes were built as a disaster area prone to landslides, relocating the community miles away from the center to Uzundere, the social housing complex of TOKİ where the community faced violations of economic, social and cultural rights. As observed in other relocation sites, not being able to pay the credit installments to the banks, most sold with debt, moving out.

[i] “Forced evictions,” Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/77, 10 March 1993, aligning with Sub-Commission resolution 1992/14 of 27 August 1992, at: http://www.jca.apc.org/nojukusha/general/law/resolution1993_77_e.html.

[ii] CESCR, General Comment No. 7 “The right to adequate housing (art. 11.1 of the Covenant): forced evictions” sets out conditions for lawful eviction, requiring: (a) an opportunity for genuine consultation with those affected; (b) adequate and reasonable notice for all affected persons prior to the scheduled date of eviction; (c) information on the proposed evictions, and, where applicable, on the alternative purpose for which the land or housing is to be used, to be made available in reasonable time to all those affected; (d) especially where groups of people are involved, government officials or their representatives to be present during an eviction; (e) all persons carrying out the eviction to be properly identified; (f) evictions not to take place in particularly bad weather or at night unless the affected persons consent otherwise; (g) provision of legal remedies; (h) provision, where possible, of legal aid to persons who are in need of it to seek redress from the courts; (i) Evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available.

[iii] “Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law,” A/RES/60/147, 21 March 2006, at:


[iv] See CESCR General Comments number 4 and 7.

[v] “Advisory Group on Forced Evictions, Mission to Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, June 8 to 11th 2009 [sic], Report to the Executive Director of the UN Habitat Program,” pp. 20, 29, at: http://mirror.unhabitat.org/downloads/docs/10008_1_593995.pdf.

Costs   0


HLRN Publications

Land Times

All rights reserved to HIC-HLRN -Disclaimer